SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Roxanna Molina remembered how the night began.
It was a night of celebration. There was drinking, laughter with her co-workers and unfortunately, she drove herself home.
That’s when her memory faded.
“That night was all vague,” Molina said at her recent parole hearing. “I was very intoxicated and the consequences were that I took the victim Robert Harsh’s life because of that.”
It all began in 2017. Robert Harsh was 19 years old when he left his parent’s home to grab a bite to eat at a nearby convenience store.
He walked and waited for the green light to cross and proceeded across. They were the last steps he would ever take.
“We went to his room at nine o’clock and he wasn’t there,” his mother, Gina Harsh told ABC4 shortly after the accident.
On Thanksgiving morning, his parents learned of an accident the night before.
Then there was a knock on the door. It was the police along with a chaplain.
“He said we think it’s your son,” recalled Lemuel Harsh in 2017. “So I had a moment to try and deal with it.”
The investigation revealed Molina was driving drunk and fleed after hitting Harsh.
“All I am saying is I don’t know what happened,” said Molina during her parole hearing. “It was out of my character that night.”
Her blood-alcohol level tested at twice the legal limit when she ran over Harsh.
She was arrested, jailed and charged with manslaughter. Eventually, she pleaded guilty to automobile homicide, DUI and failure to remain at the scene.
She received a one-to-15-year prison sentence.
“The first thought that came to me was that we need her to know there are no bad feelings,” the elder Harsh said in 2017.
His wife also was on board and offered forgiveness too.
“We know because of his kind nature he would not want this lady, that she would think that Robert’s parents were mad at her or hated her or blamed her,” Gina Harsh said back then.
Four years later, Molina is now eligible for parole and appeared in January before a hearing officer with the board of pardons.
“It’s hard, it’s heartbreaking,” she said. “I never thought I would be in a situation like this,” she said. “There are two families (hurt) because of this situation. I mean, Robert Harsh is no longer around because of my actions.”
Harsh’s father also attended the virtual hearing. He clarified his 2017 statement of forgiveness. He said his religion believes in forgiveness and justice.
But he still desired justice and wanted Molina to understand their approach to her crime.
“This is a hearing to look if she will be released,” Harsh said. “I don’t feel good about that right now, until I see and hear from her a conviction that she is willing to go into a free society and show responsibility after what she did.”
Robert’s older brother said the family wants Molina to serve the full sentence because at this point, she had never apologized to the family.
“Ms. Molina has stated how she was sad, so sad about it,” said Taft Harsh. “But not once has she apologized to the family. To us, she has not said the words ‘I am sorry.’ She addressed us during the trial but not once did she apologize,” Taft Harsh said.
The hearing officer said Molina has completed several programs to help her become a productive citizen. One program was to help her understand the impact of the crime and civic responsibility. She also completed a program that dealt with coping in society and also took part in substance abuse treatment.
A tearful Molina ended the hearing admitting responsibility and the apology the family has been waiting for.
“I have to live with this for the rest of my life,” she said. “I am truly sorry from the bottom of my heart.”
The entire board of pardons will review her testimony and file while in prison before deciding if she should be paroled.